A Six-Point Plan for Reform

As your representative in Chicago’s City Council, I will be a progressive, independent advocate for reform. I will not be a rubber stamp for policies that benefit insiders and special interests at taxpayer expense. In City Hall, I will proudly be somebody that “nobody sent.”  I firmly believe that the City Council is a co-equal branch of government that ought to make its decisions independently.  I will not be afraid to speak up on behalf of the people who elected me.  As your Alderman, I will implement a six-point plan for reform that starts in my own office.

Leading by Example

I was deeply troubled by a recent report that found City Council employees doing political work on the taxpayer’s dime. In that report, Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan argued that it was impossible to find out just how many hours Aldermanic staff were spending on illegal political work because Aldermen refused to keep time sheets and adequate records.

  1. I will require my staff to keep time-sheets that will be available for public review.
  2. I will also post my official schedule on-line, so my constituents can keep an eye on my whereabouts.

You pay our salaries.  You have a right to know what we’re doing when we’re working on your dime.

Giving the People a Voice

Too often City Hall is a place that residents cannot navigate because they are not given access.  And, this lack of access keeps Chicagoans from holding their elected representatives accountable.  But, “transparency and accountability” are not just buzzwords.  City Hall must restore Chicagoans’ trust in government by actually being both transparent and accountable.  As your Alderman, I will do my part to bring transparency to the process by:

  1. Introducing an ordinance requiring the City Council to hold their own public hearings before the budget is passed, to issue an annual independent report on the previous year’s budget performance, and to present that report to the public in a timely fashion.
  2. I will introduce an ordinance requiring an independent impact study – and public hearings – on any proposal to privatize City services or assets, before it comes to a vote.

A Real City Council Watchdog

Recently there has been much debate over the role of the Legislative Inspector General and his or her powers to independently investigate Aldermen.  Some Aldermen, and the Mayor, have suggested that the role of Legislative Inspector General be eliminated and power to police alderman shifted to the city’s Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

  1. I will support efforts to put a real watchdog in place at City Council by closing the current Office of the Legislative Inspector General and moving those powers to the Office of the City Inspector General with a guaranteed adequate budget, power to carry out independent investigations, and protection from political retaliation and retribution.

Reforming the Remap Process

City Hall insiders with their own agendas carved the new Second Ward from parts of 11 neighborhoods.  Sadly, residents and neighborhoods were not the top priority.

  1. I will introduce an ordinance to reform the ward mapping process by bringing it out of the smoky back room and into the light with public hearings that provide citizens the opportunity to choose their representatives, not the other way around. I believe representatives should try to keep neighborhoods intact, not slice and dice them for their own political gain.